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Walle passes graffiti reform bill


AUSTIN – Last week, State Representative Armando Walle (D-Houston) passed House Bill 1633, a comprehensive graffiti reform bill, out of the Texas House of Representatives. House Bill 1633 requires graffiti offenders to complete a minimum number of community service hours and to provide restitution to the victim, updates the graffiti code to include all forms of paint and enhances penalties for three-time offenders to a state jail felony.

“My graffiti reform bill requires graffiti offenders to complete community service and gets tough on the offenders who won’t learn from their mistakes,” said Walle. “I was proud to have the support of Chairman Pete Gallego, the members of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee and the Texas House of Representatives on this important bill.”

House Bill 1633 was amended during the committee and floor debate process and includes the following four provisions:

* Requires graffiti offenders to complete a minimum number of community service hours;

* Requires graffiti offenders to complete restitution to the property victim;

* Amends the graffiti code to include all types of paint, not just aerosol paint; and

* Enhances penalties for repeat graffiti offenders by adding a “three strikes —you’re out” policy making the third graffiti offense a state jail felony.

“Graffiti crime is a serious problem for our community and our state,” said Walle. “My bill will force offenders to clean up their mess and give back to the community they defaced, deterring future offenses.”

Representatives from the Houston Police Department, the City of San Antonio, the Houston Food Bank, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Council to Prevent Diplomacy, the Texas Municipal League and the Texas Apartment Association registered their support for House Bill 1633 when it was heard last month in the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence.